HOUSTON, Tx. – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, has awarded and selected Draper of Cambridge, Massachusetts, a contract to deliver Artemis science investigations to the moon in 2025. This is part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative under Artemis.
Draper will be responsible for delivery services from Earth to the surface of the moon, including payload integration and payload operations. Draper will receive $73 million for this contract.
Joel Kearns, the deputy associated administrator for exploration in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, says, “This lunar surface delivery to a geographic region on the Moon that is not visible from Earth will allow science to be conducted at a location of interest but far from the first Artemis human landing missions. Understanding geophysical activity on the far side of the Moon will give us a deeper understanding of our solar system and provide information to help us prepare for Artemis astronaut missions to the lunar surface.”
The experiments riding on Draper’s SERIES-2 lander are headed to Schrödinger Basin, a large lunar impact crater on the far side of the moon, close to the lunar South Pole, which is roughly 200 miles in diameter and made up of both impact melt and volcanic material.
This basin is one of the youngest basins on the moon. Its impact uplifted the deep crust and upper mantle of the moon in its peak ring and later was the site of a large volcanic eruption. Scientists hope to study thermal and geophysical properties as well as electric and magnetic properties in a landing location shielded from Earth’s electromagnetic fields.
The new data retrieved from this investigation could help scientists better understand tectonic activity on this region of the moon, reveal how often the lunar far side is impacted by small meteorites, and provide new information on the internal structure of the moon.